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Ghislaine Maxwell: Who is the lead prosecutor in Epstein associate's trial?

The British socialite will be tried on eight counts, including conspiracy to send girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with Jeffrey Epstein
UPDATED NOV 26, 2021
Ghislaine Maxwell's trial will begin on November 29 and  Audrey Strauss is reportedly the lead prosecutor (Getty Images/ Evan Agostini and Spencer Platt)
Ghislaine Maxwell's trial will begin on November 29 and Audrey Strauss is reportedly the lead prosecutor (Getty Images/ Evan Agostini and Spencer Platt)

The much-awaited trial of Ghislaine Maxwell will start on Monday, November 29, after she was arrested on July 2, 2020, in New Hampshire. The British socialite, who has been held at a New York prison without bail, was reportedly an accomplice of Jeffrey Epstein — the disgraced financier who died by suicide in 2019 inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York while awaiting trial.

Maxwell’s soon-to-happen trial is believed to be a sense of relief for Epstein's victims as they can finally hope for justice, which has long been denied. The 59-year-old will be tried on eight counts, including conspiracy to send girls and young women to engage in illegal sexual activity with Epstein.


Ghislaine Maxwell: Everything you need to know about Epstein's girlfriend's trial

What are the charges against Ghislaine Maxwell? Trial of Epstein accomplice to begin Nov 29

After her arrest last year, an indictment opened in Manhattan federal court stated, “From at least 1994 through at least 1997, GHISLAINE MAXWELL assisted, facilitated, and participated in Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Jeffrey Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to MAXWELL and Epstein to be under the age of 18.  The victims were as young as 14 years old when they were groomed and abused by MAXWELL and Epstein, both of whom knew that their victims were in fact minors.  As a part and in furtherance of their scheme to abuse minor victims, MAXWELL and Epstein enticed and caused minor victims to travel to Epstein’s residences in different states, which MAXWELL knew and intended would result in their grooming for and subjection to sexual abuse."

Who is the lead prosecutor in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial?

As per reports, former acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, is reportedly the lead prosecution lawyer in the Maxwell trial. Besides, she is only the second woman to lead the Southern District prosecutor’s office in its over 200-year-old history.

Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss, speaks to the media at a press conference to announce the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime girlfriend and accused accomplice of deceased accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein on July 02, 2020 in New York City (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Strauss had worked as a defense lawyer for quite a long time before she became the head of criminal appeals and, later, of the unit that handles securities fraud cases. Then in 2018, when Strauss was enjoying her retirement time, Geoffrey S Berman made her senior counsel and later his deputy.

When Maxwell was arrested in July, Strauss said, “As alleged, Ghislaine Maxwell facilitated, aided, and participated in acts of sexual abuse of minors.  Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, and then delivered them into the trap that she and Jeffrey Epstein had set. She pretended to be a woman they could trust.  All the while, she was setting them up to be abused sexually by Epstein and, in some cases, Maxwell herself.  Today, after many years, Ghislaine Maxwell finally stands charged for her role in these crimes.”

But during her pre-trial hearing on November 1, Maxwell claimed, “I have not committed any crimes.” Then on Monday, November 22, her siblings went on to appeal to the UN for her bail while stating that her pretrial confinement is an act of “unprecedented discrimination”. Her family attorneys Francois Zimeray and Jessica Finelle said in a statement, “This is unprecedented discrimination, the like of which has never seen before: All her applications for bail have been rejected, with no regard for the security offered. It is as if Ghislaine Maxwell is suffering the consequences for the failure of the U.S. Administration to preserve the life of Jeffrey Epstein and secure his appearance at trial.”

People hold a banner protesting against Jeffrey Epstein while outside a Manhattan courthouse where media has gathered for the arraignment hearing of Ghislaine Maxwell on July 14, 2020 in New York City (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The lawyers also added, “There is a narrow line between justice and revenge. We are not fighting against the complainants but against arbitrariness. In the court of public opinion, Ms. Maxwell is presumed guilty, convicted and demonized before any trial. The U.S. prosecution authorities have not sought to mitigate the effects of this demonization.” However, there were no updates yet on the plea.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking case have been allowed to use the terms “victim” and “minor” after her defense team requested a ban on these words during the trial. Judge Alison Nathan said on November 1, “Precluding the word is both unnecessary and impractical. It is appropriate to use the terms as representative of its litigation position.”

The judge also agreed to the prosecutors’ demand of using pseudonyms, or first names only, for some accusers and witnesses at trial. Nathan added, “Given the sensitive and inflammatory nature of the conduct alleged, such publicity may cause further harassment and embarrassment, and other alleged victims of sex crimes may be deterred from coming forward. Just because some victims’ names are publicly available does not mean that the details of their experiences are already available.”